COVID-19 support for the tourism sector

Find out what support is available to help tourism and hospitality businesses in the Highlands and Islands

Support for tourism and hospitality businesses

We recognise the extreme impact of COVID-19 on businesses operating in and reliant on the tourism sector across our region. We're working closely with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Tourism Alliance and our partner agencies to make sure all businesses impacted are represented as available support is developed. We are an active member of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group, working together and prioritising actions as quickly as possible. 

The Scottish Government is developing support packages for the industry and currently looking at dissemination routes.  We’ll provide more information as it becomes available to us. You can also see daily updates from the Scottish Tourism Alliance here and VisitScotland's support here.


Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,001 and up to and including £50,999 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000.

A one-off grant of £10,000 will also be available to small businesses who get:

You can also get this grant if you applied for Nursery Relief, Business Growth Accelerator Relief or Disabled Relief but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

You can only apply for one grant – even if you own multiple properties.

Self-catering premises are not eligible for the grant funding.


To apply, you'll need to complete an application form. You can find this form on your local council website.


You can get 100% off your non-domestic rates if your property is in a designated rural area with a population below 3,000 and it is:

  • a small food shop, general store or post office with a rateable value below £8,500
  • a small hotel, public house or petrol filling station with a rateable value of up to £12,750
  • any other business providing a benefit to the community with a rateable value of up to £17,000

Contact your local council to find out if you're in a designated rural area and if you're eligible for this relief. Your local council website will have the application form. 

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied. Properties that have closed temporarily due to the government's COVID-19 advice will be treated as occupied.

The Scottish Government are working with Scotland's 32 Councils to make sure this relief is administered in the most effective way. Find more information on

New online portal to help displaced workers

A new free-to-use jobs portal to help workers from the tourism and hospitality sectors who have found themselves displaced as a result of the COVID-19 has been launched.

Supported by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) and UK Hospitality, the recruitment portal is designed to help tourism and hospitality staff find at least temporary employment in other sectors such as food retail and supply, health care and delivery that now require high volumes of staff to get through the crisis.

Harri, the hospitality workforce platform, has created the HospitalityUnite jobs hub free-of-charge.

The new portal, which will help those who have already been made redundant or had contracts terminated, is a free service which will also allow sector companies such as those in the food drink retail and care sector with under-employed staff to second them to work in other sectors during the crisis. Video-screening will be provided as part of the service to speed up the recruitment process.

How to access the portal

The portal will not be visible to the public and can only be accessed by the tourism, hospitality community through a link provided by Harri. If you would like access, please email

COVID-19: caravan sites and holiday parks

Issued by the Scottish Government

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for campsites, holiday parks, caravan sites and motorhome hire businesses.

It does not cover residential parks (mobile home sites). 

What needs to be done

Campsites, holiday parks, caravan sites and motorhome hire businesses should:

  • shut with immediate effect to all new holidaymakers, tourers and other visitors
  • ask existing visitors on site or those hiring vehicles for non-essential travel to return home as soon as possible, provided it is safe and practical to do so
  • make sure this advice is clearly communicated and adhered to.

We consider visitors returning to their normal place of residence from a holiday or visit elsewhere as essential travel.  

Visitors returning to their primary place of residence, social distancing advice should be followed.

Any visitors who are self-isolating should follow the rules for self-isolating, and then return home provided it is safe and practical to do so. Again, they should following social distancing advice to ensure any risks to themselves or the wider public are strictly minimised.   

Limited exemptions

There are exceptions to the above rules which result in partial, rather than full, closure of businesses. This is in recognition that people live permanently in caravan parks, both residential parks, which are authorised for year round occupation, and sometimes in holiday parks.

This guidance covers holiday parks, not residential parks. 

Whilst holiday parks are not licensed to be someone’s primary place of residence, we know that there are some occupiers who may not have an alternative place of residence or may not have access to it, for example because it is overseas or rented out.  Some occupiers on holiday sites may also be effectively living on a holiday site permanently, in breach of their contract terms. 

Where a site is, either legally or effectively, someone’s primary place of residence, or were occupants are staying in such facilities as interim abodes, and cannot return to their permanent residence they should be allowed to remain on site during this period of lockdown only. 

We also acknowledge that such facilities are also utilised to accommodate the business’s own staff, other essential workers and may be offered to house key workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Sites are asked to look carefully at how to provide for any permanent residents, those who have no other suitable alternative accommodation, for example they may be unable to be in their own home due to flood damage, and others who may have a reasonable need to use these facilities, for example utility or key workers at this time of national emergency.

In establishing where someone’s primary home is, it is reasonable to assume that, in most (but not all) cases, this will be the address at which they are registered with a GP, or on the Electoral Register. 

Closures must not result in people being expelled from their primary residence or interim residence where no alternative accommodation is available or those with a reasonable basis  for being there i.e. staff or key workers.

In agreement with the industry, we ask individual sites to use careful discretion.

In directing enforcement legislation we will ensure such cases are taken into account.

Beyond these exceptional cases, holiday parks should not be operating.

This guidance relates to holiday parks, not to residential parks (mobile home sites), which for the avoidance of are not required to close.    

More information, including directing to financial support and who to contact with concerns can been found on the Scottish Government's website

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